Funny how one object can taunt your memory and can make you and your inner nerves pulsate like magic. Objects which for a moment graced a certain scenario or one important episode of a delightful recollection happened in the past.
On that one languid day as I let myself be smitten by the things around me, suddenly something took my attention— a bicycle that for a split of seconds dragged me from one of my yesterday’s most cherished summer.
In the summer of 2000, while teaching my stubborn feet pedaling a bike, I took a glimpse of an angel disguised in a form of human. This angel has an innocent smile painted on her face and has a subdued voice conveying convention. She is a lady of charm and fine demeanor that any man can be hauled to worship her. Yes, she is a substance of beauty.
Being a young man, of course, I don’t have the idea of what admiration is and all I’m engrossed of ,were the teeny-weeny adventures often being engaged upon by teens same my age like that of learning how to ride a bike. I was a slow-learner and a bit coward compared to my comrades who have terrorized the streets, manning their precious bikes since the start of summer. Bikes, for unknown reasons has turned like a mania that everywhere you look, there’s someone aiming to ride one.
When my father bought me a bike, I spent half the day on the street even under the blistering heat of the sun. I don’t mind if I smell like anything that is toasted. Imagine, from the moment I finished breakfast with intervals during lunch and snacks in the afternoon, all I would do was to attend on my biking session. That stinks but I don’t care and who would, anyway. I’m no longer a boy then, but not a man yet, I’m stuck in the middle of both thus I’m not cautious enough about how do I look and smell. I don’t care that much.
April came and vacation at long last was official. Different faces from different places crowded our little town. Some were families from Manila and other cities, whose spirits crave for an island adventure. That and other things made me ecstatic of the coming of summer because, most probably I could make new acquaintances on which as always seems to be cool. Well, I continue with my biking then, until I took a sight of a stranger who happened to rock my babyish way of thinking.
I met someone not a native of my town, probably from somewhere else. I don’t know. But one thing I’m sure about and that — she’s beautiful I swear. She came on the scene unexpectedly without me knowing as I was too absorbed, of course with my bike. And like a scene on TV, she passed by in a slow motion; half blurred and suddenly loomed before my face. Gotcha, there she was standing in my front. For the very first time, in my 12 years of existence, I felt something unexplainable. Something that’s soothing and pleasurable to the senses yet can cause uneasiness. Perhaps, this is what they call “crush” or love at first sight.
Crush for all I know is something about what you feel towards opposite sex, sort of admiration on the first level. I never thought that what my crazy classmate used to talk about would be the very thing I’ll be experiencing all over. Crazy, but it fascinates me that for the first time someone has caught my attention.
As she (the lady whom I call an angel) spoke to me asking for direction on where was this and that, I realized how I have fastened my feet to the ground while mumbling my answers to her. Electrifying, the best word to describe the scene, that I never had the chance to ask who she is and from where she bursts forth of. And that was the first meeting we had, so quick and fleeting that I need to recall over and over the same picture of what had transpired.
The night of the same day was full of tossing and turning as I can’t sleep thinking of her, of where she lives and what’s her name. The next day, I have thrown away my plans to be with my troop and look for the stranger, instead. Luckily, I was able to find her so easy. Two streets away from ours, there she stays with her cousins and later I learned that she’s a “ bakasyonista”. Every probinsiyano has a fascination toward those people who are a stranger in their place and like them; I feel the same way too.
From that day on; I don’t want to be with my peers anymore, riding a bike. I started to feel concern more about myself, like being vain. If before I can sweat all day then suddenly it changed. There was this notion that I should always look nice and smell good. I have noticed that I’m beginning to act weird. Every day, after my house chores, I have all the freedom to roam wherever I want to and that includes visiting her. Oops, only in my dreams. If only I have the courage to show, then I wouldn’t hide myself when she would poke her face on their window. I admit I’m a diffident piece of shit, a “torpe” one. From those days that I have passed on their house, glancing at her, sometimes without ceasing was indeed a living proof that I truly adore her. Where on earth can I ask for courage so I can speak up? How much does it costs to smile at her and make her do the same.
Fate for whatever reason urged me to be a man, by standing on what I feel for and being intrepid on it. Subsequently, I decided to know her, swallowing the shyness I have inside of me.
Came one Sunday evening of May and there was a ball on which we fondly call “Baile” (a Spanish term for dance). I spotted her together with her cousins, seemingly aloof from the crowd. I braved myself to ask her for a dance, though nervous of how would she respond; still I managed to flash a calming smile. The moment she reached for my hand and joined me on the dance floor, has torched even hotter my admiration for her. Her body so graceful, her hands so smooth and her face so charming, took the life out of me. I was dead for a moment, stuck in awe. What a feeling!
Flabbergasted, that’s how I felt. The night didn’t last long and as they put it: time flies when you are enjoying. True enough, that I even forgot to ask her name as I was too captivated by her presence and too distracted by the loud music. Making a conversation would just ruin the precious moment.
Overwhelmed by my first move I feel confident then, that I can make it step by step. The morning came and like the usual mornings I spent glancing at her on their window, I made myself identified to which there were no more hiding. I was ready of befriending her, hoping that it could lead us to the next level if time comes. I waited on her face to poke outside, patiently killing time. Time and again I waited and much to my dismay, no one appeared, in contrast to what I expected. The smile that used to greet me in the morning wasn’t there. “Was she too tired of last night?” I asked myself. I failed that day and the next morning I tried again and again only to discover that she left for Manila after the night I danced with her. Too bad I was too late and too slow. Regret was butchering me on how I have let the chance slipped in my hands. There was this silent pain that thrives in my heart, like a flame slowly burning me down.
Why am I feeling broken-hearted then, when in fact I have never professed my real intention? I bet this is the hardest feeling of all — to cry over wasted chance.
I mourned for the aborted friendship which could flourish into something beautiful but that was life, though hard to understand one must live with it. What had transpired according to some is one of life’s ironies. For others it was fate but I’d rather call it myself a mystery that for one specific moment, someone would let you feel magic so beautiful yet short-lived.
Despite what had happened; I got back on the street, went with my troop and reconciled again with my bike, my dear bike that reminds me of her, of that affection I felt once upon a sweet summer that blossomed so early yet died out too soon.